While a series that leans against the fourth wall and pokes fun at a specific manga genre isn’t exactly anything special to write home about (though I seriously beg to differ in this case), when it comes to its cast, Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-Kun has the ‘colorful and interesting cast’ part in spades. Episodes 2 through 4 are pretty much dedicated to introducing new cast members, each one just as interesting and unique as the next.
Episode 2 kicks off the character introduction conga line with the entrance of Nozaki’s other assistant, Mikoto Mikoshiba, called “Mikorin” by Nozaki. Instead of the “pure, sensitive, and delicate person” Nozaki described, Sakura is faced with what appears to be little more than an unruly playboy-type. Not a split second after Mikorin finishes flirting with some girls, however, does Mikorin’s character-defining moment happen. As the girls’ squeals slowly fade away, Mikorin’s face gets redder and redder to the point where he ends up almost collapsing into a pile of “oh my god, I can’t believe I said that” embarrassment on the floor. The biggest whopper in the barrel of laughs that is Mikorin is the fact that Nozaki outright admits that the heroine of his shoujo manga, Let’s Love!, is based on none other than Mikorin himself. At least we know Nozaki wasn’t lying when he first described Mikorin to Sakura, right?
The second half of episode 2 keeps the ball rolling with the introduction of Yuzuki Seo, a girl who has about as much tact as a baseball bat and the delicacy of a wrecking ball. While there could be worse character traits for Seo to have, combined with the fact that she is utterly clueless about how socially inept she is, it makes for one pretty destructive package. Nothing could better sum up Seo’s character than her conversation with Nozaki, where Seo more or less monologues about all of her good traits as she does things that indicate the complete opposite (but with no ill intentions, mind you). One positive thing that Nozaki will (reluctantly) concede to in regards to Seo, however, is that the girl sings with the voice of a goddess. Nicknamed “The Choir Club’s Lorelei”, Seo is pretty much a siren who gains amusement from destroying the hopes and dreams of every boy who hears her voice and expects to find an angel.
Episode 3 sees the introduction of the last two characters in the series’ roster thus far. The first is Yuu Kashima of the school’s drama club, Mikorin’s best friend and rival, and the kind of person who would fit right in between the pages of a shoujo manga. Kashima’s looks, charm, and smarts have crowned them with the title of “The Prince of the School”. You’d think Nozaki would be falling over himself to use Kashima as material for Let’s Love!, right? Well, the catch is Kashima is a girl, and it’s not exactly a fact she hides, either. Despite her boyish haircut and handsome (androgynous, really) looks, Kashima wears a girl’s uniform and speaks in a very feminine voice and manner. Obviously this isn’t a problem for the girls, who fawn over her nevertheless.
Kashima’s popularity does raise problems for the final character to be introduced in episodes 2-4, Masayuki Hori, the president of the drama club whose work is always being ruined by Kashima in one way or another. If it isn’t Kashima herself shirking her drama club duties, it’s her fangirls that are wrecking things. Regardless of who is to blame, it changes nothing and frustrates Hori to the point where he reacts with violence against Kashima, as that seems to be the only way of getting her to listen and take him seriously. In contrast to Kashima’s silliness, Hori is down-to-earth, serious, and undoubtedly the straight man of the duo. The dynamic between these two characters is not only comedic, but really refreshing – especially when the series just gets too overloaded with the shoujo aspect from time to time.
I do have to say, with a little bit of disappointment, that in comparison to the first half, the latter part of episode 4 is a bit of a letdown. Although the mock group-date premise is amusing to think about, the joke itself felt a bit too drawn out to be funny for longer than a few minutes at best, in my opinion. It’s not much of a surprise, really, given how it’s kind of hard to top – or at least match – something as funny as the idea of two boys (Nozaki and Mikorin) playing a dating sim and spending the entire rest of the night drawing a doujinshi based on said game. And, no, the doujinshi isn’t at all what you probably think it is. Or maybe it is, but it doesn’t make the joke any less hilarious.
Overall these episodes were as funny as I had hoped they’d be and I look forward to seeing more. As not all the characters have been introduced just yet, judging by the opening credits, I can only expect even more laughs to come.